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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
Let your face smile on us, Lord. (Psalm 4:6)

A couple weeks after we were married Mark and I wrote a song called, “He Smiled On Me.” The lyrics reflect what was on our hearts in those early days of marriage over thirty years ago…

He wakes the morning with a song
he gives a love that binds up two
He calms the angry rebel sea
He gave His love though wrath was due
And there He smiled on me
Somehow He smiled on me*

That was the time when love was strong, able to overcome every little foible in the other, every little irritation. In fact, little irritations were cute and amusing in those glorious day, the honeymoon season. What joy. But the hard work soon sets in, and the stresses come, and the bills pile up, and the first baby arrives, and sleep eludes you, and pressures bear down. Suddenly the one you were meant to love most becomes the scapegoat for all your frustrations. Amusing turns to annoyance. Annoyance to anger. Anger to avoidance. How in the world do you avert this trap?

As we enter the fourth decade of our covenant, Mark and I are finding (albeit slow in coming) that God is changing our hearts, teaching us to love each other as we did when love was new and fresh. Psalm 4 gives us a hint as to how this is accomplished:

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent. (Psalm 4:4)

In other words: when you are ticked at your spouse, keep your mouth shut. Don’t speak in angry tones the first inflamed words that come to mind. Take a breath. Sleep on it, and discuss it in the morning when you are calm. We are also told to not let the sun go down on our wrath. That would mean, then, that when necessary we must place the conflict on the shelf  until we can take a fresh look at it in the morning. Meantime, we continue to walk in love, continue to walk towards each other in relationship. I’m here to say, it’s possible! Anger was my greatest vice, and God in His mercy is conquering it as I receive His forgiveness and grace. He will do the same for you!

Our Father,

We can’t do this without your help. In the heat of our debates, we often lose our love footing. We say things we don’t mean. But our words mean something. Our words have power to devastate. Please teach us to fear you, to obey your Word, even when it is hard. At the core of it all, Lord, we need you to transform our minds through your Word. We need you to align our hearts with Your character. So we set ourselves to value your Word above all else, together as a couple and individually. Your Words are our life, the lifeline of our marriage. We commit ourselves to follow them and to love you first with all of our hearts. Let Your Kingdom come to our marriage. Let Your will be done in our hearts. 

In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

*Copyright 1983 Mark and Jill Herringshaw, ASCAP

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